A Sobremesa Thanksgiving

Please don’t confuse this title with “A sober Thanksgiving,” because I assure you, none of us was sober throughout the process of prepping, cooking, or enjoying this years’ meal.

What? We’re all adults here…

Speaking of being an adult, something shifts when you transition from simply sitting back and enjoying the feast prepared by relatives much older than you to actively engaging in the process. This year, my husband and I took the reigns with his family’s gathering and executed 80% of the meal ourselves, including the turkey.

On top of assuming the responsibility of feeding 12 plus people, I am also confronted with the cognitive dissonance that hits me every Thanksgiving.  Yes, I have always cherished this holiday, I love the family connections, the *cough* sobremesa *cough*, but there’s a deep sadness that taints this holiday once you know the truth about the white man’s relationship with Natives, and let me just say it’s not all happy pilgrims, neighborly kindness, and pumpkin pie.

This American Life did a great story called “Little War on the Prairie,” where they report the story of a terrible battle in Minnesota:

“Mankato was the site of the largest mass execution in US history of Dakota warriors. 38 of them were hanged by the order of Abraham Lincoln, more than 150 years ago,  the day after Christmas, 1862.”


I’m not trying to rain on your Macy’s Day Parade, but the reality of our existence in this country doesn’t produce the sanguin sentiment so many of us cherished as children.

And yet, despite being conscious individuals, there are still turkeys to roast, pies to bake, potatoes to mash, and relatives to cherish during this thoroughly manufactured holiday.

Michael and I had the privilege of visiting family in Knoxville, TN and I couldn’t think of a better setting to celebrate this Autumnal holiday, surrounded by Smokey Mountains and brilliant fall colors.

Since we were so instrumental in doing the cooking, I didn’t have time to grab the beautiful photos that usually accompany our posts… ie Carole wasn’t there to offer her photog skills and Michael was elbows deep in turkey juice.

Despite the lack of photos, I can assure you this was a Thanksgiving meal worth writing home about.  Michael brined the 23 lb turkey for 12 hours and then stuffed the skin with butter and drizzled olive oil and herbs over the top as it roasted. All the usual suspects were also on the table: mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, plus some stunning homemade quick pickles and jalapeño poppers.

The star of the whole occasion was the merging of extended family members, all of whom were new to me, coming together and sharing 3 days of stories and memories.  It was, in a word, perfect. A true Sobremesa Thanksgiving, indeed.

From us over here at Sobremesa Waco, we hope your holiday was filled with all the joy and good food you can eat.  Also, do your part to be a good citizen and help your fellow man on Giving Tuesday coming up on Nov. 28.  As privileged white people who built a nation on the mass murder of natives, it’s the least we can do.

I want to highlight an organization that’s doing incredible work across the world, and now, has started a branch in Waco, Texas:

 “Rlabs’ passion is solely to create systems and environments where the lives of many can be impacted, where individuals may find empowerment and transformation can occur through hope, technology, innovation, training and economic opportunities.”

You can donate and make a difference here: https://rlabswaco.org/donate/

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